Can a lease agreement contain a clause that you forfeit your entire security deposit?

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Can a lease agreement contain a clause that you forfeit your entire security deposit?

My lease agreement states I forfeit my entire security deposit and this will not be applied to any costs associated with the breach (i.e. fees, legal fees, lost rents, advertising costs, property rehabilitation, cleaning, painting, repairs, lock changes, yard care, utility costs, etc). Is this legal?

Asked on December 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your lease can contain a forfeiture provision within it as to your security deposit which it presently does. However, under the statutes of all states in this country, forfeiture clauses in written agreements are strictly scrutinized in that many of them are deemed in violation of public policy and are unenforceable (void) as a matter of law.

From what you have written about the security deposit forfeiture provision in your lease it appears to be an invalid provision and not enforceable. Security deposits are placed to pay for damages to a rental upon move out assuming damages exist caused by the tenant.


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